As Jeffrey Haynes arrived at the Grove Performing Arts Center on Sunday, he knew Grove Superintendent Pat Dodson made the right call.

With the entire parking lot an ice rink, it seemed as if the final petal had fallen on the high school's production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Weather, which rolled in during the overnight hours caused Dodson and others to decide the final performance would be canceled for the safety of cast, crew and patrons.

With the costume rentals due back to the Springfield Little Theatre, and the contract giving GHS permission to produce the play expiring, rescheduling it seemed was not an option.  

Then, a glimmer of hope arose. Much like the hope the servants found as Belle began to show affection towards the Beast.

Two patrons, Dustin Matthews and Susan Gentry, among others began a grassroots community effort to save the show.

Haynes said he was more than willing to let them try. He was simply hesitant to ask the community - which had already given so much to the production - for additional funds.

In less than two hours on Sunday, Matthews and Gentry secured enough funds the costume rentals for another week. Monies were pledged from local supporters, as well as friends and family of the cast.

Other gifts came from people living out of state, who simply wanted the students to have one last performance.

Haynes said once the $4,000 was secure, he began to reach out to the entities who would determine if the show would go on for another performance.

By noon on Monday, Haynes received permission from MTI, the licensing entity, the contract could be modified to have a rescheduled show on Sunday, March 10.

He also secured permission from Springfield Little Theatre to keep the costumes for an additional week. 

While canceling the show was an unprecedented move for Haynes, so too was the community outreach saving the performance.

"It was a ripple effect of good people working together," Haynes said. "I've never seen a community do this. It's very humbling and it speaks volumes for what the community thinks of the program and the kids."

The outreach did not stop with simply securing the show. Organizers switched gears on Monday to begin a #PackThePAC effort. 

The goal - to have a sold-out crowd witness the final performance. Food trucks, including The Local and Chunky Monkey, will be on hand from 1 to 4 p.m., by the PAC offering a treat before or after the show. 

The Local features a variety of burgers as well as their famous honey garlic chicken chunks. Chunky Monkey offers a plethora of items, including BBQ. Both trucks take cash (preferably) and cards. 

"We're trying to make a big party out of it, to go out with a bang with our final performance," Haynes said. "We want this to be a grand send-off for a lot of really good senior actors, by producing the best show people around here have every seen."

Haynes said he's not sure an effort like has been replicated in other communities. 

"There was no real reason to rally like this, other than it was the right thing to do," Haynes said. "The community felt the need, had the ability to do it, and chose to give.

"The show wouldn't have happened at all, initially, if it hadn't been for the GEFFE grant. The community has been so generous to the program, I couldn't in good conscience ask them to give again.

"But they chose do to it, which on its own, speaks volumes."

Haynes said the cast is ecstatic about the final performance. While the decision to move the show impacted some plans, he said everyone is happy to come back for a final show.

Haynes hopes the seniors, as well as the cast and crew, get a big send-off from a packed PAC - all because a group of community members decided to thank the students for their hard work, with a gift which far surpasses any monetary amount.

The support shown to the theatre and music department was truly a gift from the heart.  

Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller is the managing editor of The Grove Sun and Delaware County Journal. Have an idea for a column or story? She can be reached at khutson@grovesun.com or 918-786-2228.